- Legal States
Jerome García June 2, 2021 3 min read
Debate on Smoke-Free Casinos in Atlantic City Continues
The debate on smoke-free casino floors in Atlantic City continues. While smoking was temporarily banned due to the COVID-19 pandemic, lawmakers joined by Smoke-Free Atlantic City advocate the smoke ban to remain permanently. On the other hand, operators and the Casino Association of New Jersey fear that a potential smoke ban may bring significant financial implications.
Smoking in AC Casinos Remains a Controversial Topic
Smoking in casinos in Atlantic City has been a controversial topic for quite some time. Back in 2007, New Jersey introduced the Smoke-Free Air Act, which banned indoor smoking at all venues except for the nine casinos. Although the casinos were exempt from the act, the activity was restricted to no more than 25% of the gaming floors.
Last year, after the shutdown which was introduced due to the COVID-19 pandemic, smoking was banned temporarily from casinos in Atlantic City. The spreading of the respiratory disease COVID-19 was a prime reason for this action.
Now, New Jersey lawmakers are trying to keep casinos in the state permanently smoke-free. Furthermore, the lawmakers’ efforts receive the support of Smoke-Free Atlantic City, which is an organization with a mission to educate and advocate for 100% smoke-free casinos.
Although the smoking ban remains a hot topic in Atlantic City, Governor Phil Murphy hasn’t taken any side for the moment. In a news conference last week, the Governor was brief and said that there is “no update on smoke, nothing there“.
A Smoke Ban May Bring Financial Implications for the Operators
The operators’ biggest fear related to a smoking ban remains revenue decline. In a statement, the Casino Association of New Jersey said that AC casinos serve both smokers and non-smokers. Furthermore, CANJ said that a permanent smoke ban may have “long-term financial implications” for the industry in Atlantic City.
“Atlantic City casinos cater to a diverse and dynamic cross section of guests, including both smokers and non-smokers.“Casino Association of New Jersey
Besides the financial implications, the Casino Association stressed that a smoking ban may place the casinos “at a competitive disadvantage with other nearby casinos that allow smoking”. Last but not least, CANJ said that the worst result of a smoking ban may be a decline in the number of customers, which may result in job loss, and “ultimately a decline in tax revenue“.
Business Volumes Increase in Q1, 2021
Undoubtedly, last year proved to be difficult for casinos throughout the country. Atlantic City was no exception. Local operators’ revenue plummeted in light of the shutdown and the COVID-related restrictions that followed once the venues reopened. The economic impact was so severe, that Atlantic City operators have seen more than 80% of the 2020 full-year profits disappear.
Despite that last year was difficult for operators, now, it looks like things are starting to turn around. All nine casinos in Atlantic City showed good results for the first quarter of 2021. Furthermore, the casinos made three times more money this quarter when compared to the same quarter last year.
Jerome is a welcome new addition to the Gambling News team, bringing years of journalistic experience within the iGaming sector. His interest in the industry begun after he graduated from college where he played in regular local poker tournaments which eventually lead to exposure towards the growing popularity of online poker and casino rooms. Jerome now puts all the knowledge he's accrued to fuel his passion for journalism, providing our team with the latest scoops online.
Casino June 2, 2021
All us smokers won’t go to AC due to no smoking on any floors. So said because all casinos are loosing so much money. There are actual floors where there are no smoking to game was never an issue before now all of a sudden your being derogatory and insulting us smoker.
Keep casinos smoke free please.
It’s a pleasure to spend time at casinos smell food, and clean air. It’s safety first. That includes your health.